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by Brett Davis

Mitsubishi Motors Australia has introduced a new two-wheel drive version of the Mitsubishi Challenger – an SUV that has only ever come in four-wheel drive layout.

As with the Mitsubishi ASX, which is also available in four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive, the company has found that there is plenty of demand for two-wheel drive SUVs. The company also says that up to 70 per cent of ASX sales are skewed towards the two-wheel drive option.

The Mitsubishi Challenger is more of a heavy-duty off-road vehicle however, featuring a traditional ladder-type chassis and 3-link live axle rear suspension. The new 2WD Challenger presents the economy of a rear-wheel drive while offering ground clearance and towing capacity (3000kg) of a rigid SUV.

Like all Mitsubishi Challenger models, the 2WD is powered by a 2.5-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine producing 131kW of power and 400Nm of torque (350Nm for the five-speed automatic). Mitsubishi says the 2WD brings more versatility to SUV buyers. MMAL’s President and CEO, Genichiro Nishina said,

“The two-wheel drive segment is becoming increasingly popular with customers wanting versatile vehicles that offer economical performance, so we are pleased to introduce the 2WD Challenger with the option of a reversing camera to enhance safety.”

Mitsubishi says the 2WD Challenger offers an average fuel consumption rating of 8.2L/100km for the manual, and 9.6L/100km for the automatic, compared with the 4WD versions which offer 8.3L/100km and 9.8L/100km, respectively.

Optional features for the 2WD include a reversing camera through the Mitsubishi Convenience Pack for the automatic variant. The pack costs an additional $3640 over the standard price, but it comes with side and curtain airbags, 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, a six-speaker stereo, climate control and a leather steering wheel with audio controls.

All four-wheel drive version now come standard with the reverse camera, while USB ports make their way onto both LS and XLS variants.

All Mitsubishi Challenger vehicles come with Mitsubishi five-year/130,000km warranty.

Pricing for the 2012 Mitsubishi Challenger is as follows (excluding on-road costs and taxes):

2012 Mitsubishi Challenger 2WD five-seater manual transmission – $36,990
2012 Mitsubishi Challenger 2WD five-seater auto transmission – $39,490

2012 Mitsubishi Challenger 4WD five-seater manual transmission – $41,490
2012 Mitsubishi Challenger 4WD five-seater auto transmission – $43,990

2012 Mitsubishi Challenger LS 4WD five-seater manual transmission – $45,490
2012 Mitsubishi Challenger LS 4WD five-seater auto transmission – $47,990

2012 Mitsubishi Challenger LS 4WD seven-seater auto transmission – $49,890

2012 Mitsubishi Challenger XLS 4WD five-seater auto transmission – $55,290
2012 Mitsubishi Challenger XLS 4WD seven-seater auto transmission – $57,190




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